It was nice while it lasted. Five hours after Daniel Ricciardo had created history by becoming the first local driver to stand on the podium at home in a world championship Grand Prix, the Red Bull Racing driver was disqualified for a technical infringement that brought a frown to the ever-smiling Australian's face for the first time all week in Melbourne.
Ricciardo handled the pressure of being the sole Australian on the grid at his home Formula One race for the first time in the wake of Mark Webber's retirement with aplomb, qualifying a career-best second in a downpour on Saturday and showing remarkable composure to finish in the same position 24 hours later.
But as the ecstatic Albert Park fans headed into the night and the Formula One travelling roadshow packed its bags for the next round in Malaysia, news emerged that Red Bull was being investigated under article 5.1.4 of the sport's technical regulations for exceeding "consistently the maximum fuel flow of 100kg per hour".
Formula One race director Charlie Whiting said before the Australian Grand Prix that there would be “no tolerance” for teams who exceeded the maximum 100kg of fuel that came into the sport's regulations this year as F1 moved from 2.4-litre V8 engines to 1.6-litre turbos with increased hybrid capabilities, and so it proved. Under the previous regulation, cars were able to start races with 150kg of fuel.
News of Ricciardo's disqualification finally emerged as Sunday night turned to Monday morning in Melbourne, and came an hour after Ricciardo left the circuit for his city hotel not knowing his fate. Red Bull immediately announced it would appeal the decision.
Race stewards laid the blame on Red Bull Racing, not Ricciardo. "This parameter is outside of the control of the driver, Daniel Ricciardo," the FIA stewards said in their judgment.
Red Bull Racing director Christian Horner said the team would appeal Ricciardo's disqualification.
"I am extremely disappointed, quite surprised, and we will of course appeal," Horner told reporters. "Hopefully through the appeal process it will be quite clear that the car has conformed at all times to the regulations.
"We would not be appealing unless we were extremely confident that we have a defendable case.
"It is no fault of Daniel. I don't believe it is the fault of the team. I believe we have been compliant to the rules."
The 5.3km Albert Park layout, which features numerous heavy braking zones and exits out of slow-speed corners, has one of the heaviest rates of fuel consumption of the 19-race calendar, with several teams expressing concerns that their cars could struggle to complete the race ahead of the season-opening Grand Prix.
The disqualification was a cruel end to a superb weekend in Australia for Ricciardo, who had never finished better than seventh in 50 previous Grands Prix in two-and-a-half seasons for the Hispania and Toro Rosso teams.
In his first race alongside teammate and four-time reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, Ricciardo held off McLaren debutant Kevin Magnussen to finish second to race-winner Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), but his joy was short-lived despite Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and chief technical officer Adrian Newey vehemently arguing their case with the race stewards long into the night.
Earlier, Red Bull looked to have turned a wretched pre-season around with Ricciardo's second place, which came after the world champion team hadn't been able to complete more than 20 laps across 12 days of pre-season testing in Spain and Bahrain.
With more than 40 friends and family members who had made the trip across the Nullarbor from his home town of Perth ready to celebrate, Ricciardo's podium party was belatedly turned into a much more sombre affair through no fault of his own.
The ruling means both Ricciardo and Vettel leave Australia with no points to show for the season's first race, with Vettel retiring with engine problems inside the first five laps on Sunday afternoon.